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A Plan For British Airways Customer Care

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Customer Care

Assignment Outline

To prepare a report taken from the point of view that I work for a management consultancy. The report will explain how I would go about developing the customer care programme at British Airways, by using a customer care plan, applying the relevant concepts, theories and models showing how this plan will be implemented.

British Airways

British Airways are a world-wide air cargo company, they are the largest in Britain and 5th largest in the world. Being such a large corporation it is essential that they have an excellent customer care package in operation so that they can retain their customers. The following will propose to British Airways the changes they need to make to carry on their current rein over the transport market.

Plan for customer care

Superior customer service is always connected to the market leaders, competition within and across the market sectors will raise the stakes in providing a superior service. British Airways are starting to linger behind with an old care plan that needs immediate repair and up date.

To create the plan I used the following model divised by Aaker, da. It was designed to help businesses set and reach realistic objectives and achieve a desired competitive position within a certain time. This will help to reduce errors and put the company in a situation where they can anticipate change, respond to it and even create change to its own advantage.

Strategic Planning Process

Along with this I prepared the following plan of action:

Statement Of Objectives

  • To be the undisputed leader in World Travel.
  • Respond to every complaint and query.
  • Exceed the customers expectations on every trip.
  • To retain customers threw good service and use of loyalty schemes.
  • Celebrate continuing success by rewarding our customers.
  • To make customers our best ambassadors

Situation Analysis

  • BA is the leader of travel in Britain.
  • Product being sold is considered that of high class and safety, but also high price.
  • Customer service was on a good level, however consumer demands have escalated significantly over the past 5 years.
  • All staff trained regularly. Yet market research shows ground staff need more improvement
  • Delay time has gone down, again though research shows consumers to be more agitated at the lack of explanation with delays, than the actual delay itself.

Strategy Selection and Implementation

A Coherent set of actions aimed at gaining a sustainable advantage over competition, improving position vis–vis customers.

For this section of the analysis I used the above quote and a swot analysis to aid me in finding the best customer care strategies. The SWOT analysis can be found below:

Before it is decided on the stratergies to consider. I reviewed customer view points and complaints picked one out to help express exactly what the customers think is wrong. This extract is taken from the British Airways archives:

We got on the British Airways flight 1502 to Manchester from New York at about 5:30

PM, rolled out to the runway,sat for 6 hours because of thunderstorms in the area, and (as they later told us) because the pilot had gone out to the wrong runway. We then sat at the terminal for another 2 hours supposedly getting fuel and then suddenly they announced the flight was cancelled. ARRRRGGHH!!!! It was 2 AM by this time. We got our bags and the airline packed us all on busses ostensibly to take us to hotels. When we got there (another 1.5 hours later) , we discovered another bus had already got there and taken all the available rooms. It was now 4 AM The agent had the bus driver take us to a 24 hour restaurant (we’d had no food since noon the previous day) and then back to the airport to catch an 8:30 AM flight to London. We then had to take a 4 hour bus ride after reaching London to get to Manchester connecting flights to Manchester were full! A 12 hour trip took us more than 36 hours to complete. I’m still trying to get a response from British Airways customer service; their customer service phone line is a recording that gets to nowhere. Lesson learned? Stay the hell away from British Airways – they have no clue as to customer service.

The technical factors with this complaint take it out of service staff hands. However, it is Customer care to do everything they possibly can in this kind of situation to keep the customer happy, I have pulled from here the key points of complaint which have also been reflected in the original analysis.

  • Left sat on the plane for 6 hours, with no food or drink, worse of all no explanation as to what was happening.
  • Packed on to buses at 2am having to get on flight the next morning.
  • British Airways managed to book 2 coaches into 1 hotel.
  • No sleep or rest.
  • In the morning they got on a flight to London (not original destination), with no connecting flight to Manchester having to get a coach instead.
  • After the incident, cant get threw to customer care lines.
  • Will never travel with BA again.

The same problems emerge from this complaint as the negative elements we discovered from the planning process and SWOT analysis.

The new customer care programme will include the following essential factors to re-invent British Airways Customer Service:

  • Training all new and existing staff to the same level although this may be a lengthy option it is largely necessary, not to take short cuts.
  • Explain if there is a delay or other problem give every customer a full explanation, of whats happened, why it has happened, and when it will be sorted out.
  • Celebrate and reward excellence Employees and customers, giving just a little more that what they expected can make a large difference to their views and attitudes.
  • Employ more telesales staff getting threw first time whether its to book a flight or complain will be remembered next time. Recruitment and retention are key competitive weapons.
  • Empower Staff so that with every query people dont have to find 3 different supervisors before they can or cant do what they wanted to do in the 1st place
  • Make it easy to complain excluding the telesales, right there and then when something happens there should be somewhere to record the complaint.
  • Every Complaint and Question answered within 24hrs follow up calls or letters it could be the difference between retaining or loosing a very important customer.

Each Customer Care stratergy needs to be implemented as soon as possible to complete the programme and to avoid further loss of customers and bad brand image. To put the programme in to practise, I suggest the following guide for British Airways:

  • Existing employees will need to all take part in customer care seminars and workshops, to bring them all to the same level of customer care, helping staff to stay flexible and up to date with how to handle all situations and complaints, keeping a good name for British Airways.
  • In situations where delays or other technical problems arise which can not be solved by the ground staff or cabin crew, the situation should be explained to customers in as much detail as it is possible. They do not want to be lied to, if they have more information on what is happening, they will often be more calm and rational.
  • British Airways should introduce employee reward schemes, such as employee of the month in each department, e.g a weekend break. Customers should also be rewarded, although BA have an good loyalty scheme with air miles, but in the way if there is a complaint before the flight or an unhappy customer do everything possible to improve the situation. For example if there is space in a higher class arrange to have them upgraded.
  • Take on more employees for telesales, they can be employed threw agencies or directly to BA, the increase in telesales staff will improve the waiting time and level of patience the customer has with the company.
  • Give employees more power. Empowerment can give the benefit of flexibility rather than the threat of rigidity. When situations or queries originate that require a decision, it can be given there and then without a supervisor being asked what to do, leaving customers waiting or on hold getting frustrated.
  • Make it possible for everyone to complain with ease, by having complaint forms at every desk, on every flight and/or have a separate phone number for complaints. Complaints should be seen as a form of feedback to be used in a positive way. Listen and act on complaints and suggestions letting customers know what action has been taken to improve the fault, they will feel more important knowing they have made a difference.
  • When a complaint or query is received make sure the information required is sent out within 24hrs. Retrieve background on the inquiry before getting back to them, and the customers name, so that they know someone as been bothered to do something about it.

Conclusion

I conclude that if British Airways takes on board the Customer Care programme I have divised, they will see a major improvement in complaint levels, and in customers returning to good service. Although they do have a care programme in place it is not sufficient. John Fowler, European Strategic Planning Manager for advertising agency Mcmann-Erickson said:

Major Service brands must consistently re-invent their own concept of service to develop competitive protection and maintain the level and quality of their reputation.

This is the advice I pass to British Airways. Customer care is a vital role in helping organisations achieve tangible service improvements and reaching their objectives and goals. Taking on this new plan is the only realistic way to stay at the top of this market.

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GradesFixer. (2019, April, 26) A Plan For British Airways Customer Care. Retrived October 23, 2019, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/a-plan-for-british-airways-customer-care/
"A Plan For British Airways Customer Care." GradesFixer, 26 Apr. 2019, https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/a-plan-for-british-airways-customer-care/. Accessed 23 October 2019.
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